Marfa Dialogues

Through the Repellent Fence

July 20, 2017


Through the Repellent Fence: A Land Art film
July 20, 2017
Doors at 7pm, screening at 7:30pm
The Crowley Theater
Free


Ballroom Marfa is proud to present a screening of Through the Repellent Fence: A Land Art Film, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Sam Wainwright Douglas, artist Raven Chacon, and producer David Harstein.

Through the Repellent Fence: A Land Art Film follows art collective Postcommodity as they strive to construct Repellent Fence, a two-mile long outdoor artwork that straddled the U.S.-Mexico border. Postcommodity is an interdisciplinary arts collective comprised of Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez and Kade L. Twist, three Native American artists who “put land art in a tribal context.” Aided by the communities on both sides of the border in 2015, the artists installed a series of 28 inflatable spheres emblazoned with an insignia known as the “open eye” that has existed in Indigenous cultures from South America to Canada for thousands of years.

The spheres were evenly spaced apart and extended north and south of the border a mile in each direction. “It’s a metaphorical suture stitching together cultures that have inhabited these lands long before borders were drawn.”The film provides an intimate glimpse into the arduous process behind creating an ambitious artwork that will give voice to the shared history and enduring culture of Indigenous societies that have made the region their home for thousands of years before a border ever divided it. Interwoven with this thread are lush scenes using stunning cinematography to absorb viewers into striking land art environments that have preceded Postcommodity’s work. Scenes with other artists and intellectuals working in the land art realm provide context and insight as well. These include scenes with Chris Taylor of Texas Tech University’s Land Arts of the American West program, writer Lucy Lippard and Matt Coolidge of the Center for Land Use Interpretation. Through The Repellent Fence is an adventure in the artistic process blended with a road trip of discovery visiting sites and diverse perspectives to explore how land art can generate community interaction and perceptual shifts in how we interpret, engage and draw inspiration from our natural world.

Sam Wainwright Douglas is a director and editor working in Austin, TX. Recently, Sam directed and edited Honky Tonk Heaven, which premiered and won an audience award at South by Southwest 2016. Sam edited and co-produced No No: A Dockumentary, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, screened theatrically in 35 cities and was broadcast on Showtime. Sam also edited and produced the PBS documentary Ladonna Harris: Indian 101, which was executive produced by Johnny Depp and broadcast on PBS in 2014. Indian 101 was selected for the U.S. State Department’s American Film Showcase and will be shown in developing countries worldwide through screenings organized by embassies. Sam will be the cultural envoy for the film. He directed Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee And The Spirit Of The Rural Studio, which was broadcast nationwide on PBS in 2010. He co-directed music documentary The Holy Modal Rounders… Bound To Lose (2006) and has edited and produced other feature documentaries such as Along Came Kinky: Texas Jewboy For Governor, which had its premiere at South By Southwest in 2009. As an editor he has cut countless hours of television for PBS, HBO, A&E, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, and The Food Network.

Postcommodity is an interdisciplinary arts collective comprised of Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, and Kade L. Twist. Postcommodity’s art functions as a shared Indigenous lens and voice to engage the assaultive manifestations of the global market and its supporting institutions, public perceptions, beliefs, and individual actions that comprise the ever-expanding, multinational, multiracial and multiethnic colonizing force that is defining the 21st Century through ever increasing velocities and complex forms of violence. Postcommodity works to forge new metaphors capable of rationalizing our shared experiences within this increasingly challenging contemporary environment; promote a constructive discourse that challenges the social, political and economic processes that are destabilizing communities and geographies; and connect Indigenous narratives of cultural self-determination with the broader public sphere. Postcommodity are the recipients of grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2010), Creative Capital (2012), Art Matters (2013), Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (2014), and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (2017). The collective has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including: Contour the 5th Biennial of the Moving Image in Mechelen, BE; Nuit Blanche, Toronto, CA; 18th Biennale of Sydney in Sydney, AUS; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Scottsdale, AZ; 2017 Whitney Biennial, New York, NY; Art in General, New York, NY; documenta14, Athens, GR and Kassel, DE; and their historic land art installation Repellent Fence at the U.S./Mexico border near Douglas, AZ and Agua Prieta, SON.

    The screening of Through the Repellent Fence is made possible by the generous support of Ballroom Marfa members and the Ballroom Marfa Board of Trustees.

    In kind support provided by Big Bend Brewing Co. and SAVED Wines.

    Ballroom Marfa extends a special thank you to Todd Bockley, The Capri, Vicente Celis, Rob Crowley, Tim Crowley, the Crowley Theater, Cuca Flores, Mahala Guevara, Rosario Halpern and the Big Bend Sentinel, Glen Hansen, David Hartstein Cody Lee, Marfa Public Radio, Diana Nguyen, Peggy O’Brien, Gory Smelley, Chris Taylor, and Emily Williams.